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David Lesch Education. (2012) 'Syria The Fall of the House of Assad.' New.

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U.s. 15, United States 11, Israel 8, Assad 6, Russia 6, Damascus 5, Iran 5, Un 4, Us 4, Libya 4, Turkey 3, Bush 2, Bashar Al Assad 2, America 2, Lebanon 2, Afghanistan 2, Michael Corleone 2, Jackson 2, George Bush 1, Blair 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    David Lesch  Education.  (2012) 'Syria  
   The Fall of the House of Assad.' New.  

    October 13, 2012
    7:00 - 7:59pm EDT  

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in so arthur bowen is convicted, and there is only one punishment for that, which is the death penalty, capital punishment. and so arthur goes on to the throat and in january of 1836 he is sentenced to die in about a month. and so with the clock ticking mrs. thornton does something even more unbelievable. it was amazing enough that she had testified on august behalf
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in the criminal trial, but now she goes out and search recruiting her friends in high society washington, and she was a very private woman with many prominent friends, easy access to the leaders of the country. she went to vice-president you're in and says use your good offices with president jackson and tell them that he should pardon arthur. you know, his mother is very good. she says to you know the with the execution would be worse than the crime and that she could not contemplate that arthur would be executed. he and jackson are unmoved, and so the clock keeps ticking. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. you're watching book tv on c-span2. here is our prime-time lineup. up next, the rise of wish are
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all aside. at eight jussive proceed no. >> ellen book tv the rise of bashar al assad in it syria, the
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face that many in the weight -- west said that he would implement reforms and the syrian ruler is the group turned toward repression and violence. this is just under an hour. >> tonight we have a program with david lashed. a professor of middle eastern studies and history at the senate study of a texas. and david has been going to syria i believe 23 years. >> 1989. twenty-three years ago. >> started three years. some experience in that country. the reason i am excited to have and talk to us tonight. david got to know bashar al assad having spent a lot of time talking to him, which is pretty unique for an american command academic a particular.
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david broder a book in 2005 which held out great hope for the future of syria. if you recall, there were is some sense that he would be a reformer in the syria after his father died. discovered that is not the case, and he has no written another book called the fall of the house of assad. so we're going to talk a bit about that tonight. my first question is going to be quite simply, when did you first meet in what was your impression? >> well, i first met president bashar al assad in 2004. i wanted to interview him because he was the atypical middle east dictators, the laces ophthalmologist cannot prove to be president, and only was brought back into the reprocess when his older brother died in a car accident in 1994.
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he was doing the equivalent of an advanced degree in ophthalmology and was brought back and raised in this state apparatus until he became president when his father died in 2000, so i thought that was a very interesting story. he was different from the typical middle east dictators that i steady throughout modern the least history. and so in 2002i contacted a friend of mine who happens to the minister of higher education he was in academia, and when traveling to syria for years amid a lack of teeth of a lot of academics. he brought a lot of these people into government. that was a good or bad thing. many people saw it as a sign of academics and maybe even take the country in a different direction. so i contacted the minister of higher education and the contacted bashar. two years almost to the day later the ambassador to the
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united states called me up and was also a friend and also an academic. dean of computer science at damascus university prior to becoming ambassador. he said, it's on. and i had forgotten about this whole thing. and i said, what's on? and the set to well, the president wants to meet with you and so common with him in may and june of that year extensively, it's viewed his wife and many other syrian officials. >> what was the first meeting like? >> well, after the pleasantries in after i explained why i wanted to do this my first substantive sentence to him was, mr. president, you know i'm not an apologist for syria. of writing this book on you, and of going to criticize you. and he said, that's fine. i know you will criticize me.
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i know that because i'm not perfect and in the past you criticize my father's policy, but you're always fair and objective. then i told him, one of the worst things you never did. >> what's that? >> you let it be known the like phil collins music, the rock star from england. he had a puzzled look does face a loss for rethinking why do we let this guy -- is asking me this stupid question. in the west this the operation was disseminated in the future it to a profile of him being a modernizing pro-western reformer.
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i said, this created too high and the expectation in the west, exactly what you want to do and are able to do. >> where were your meetings held? >> they were held in various places, usually in what is called the presidential building a very modest building in the district. and -- i mean, very modest. a typical middle-class, you know, residential apartment building that was transformed into a -- they call that a presidential palace. and that is where he made the worked. this tree is blocked off for. he also met in what is called the people's palace which was built by his father, this grant structure on the top of the mountain overlooking damascus. it's a palace and then some, but he hardly ever goes there and only needs dignitaries there. the only reason i met him there
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one time is he was meeting with my mood, did john, the iranian president. a man with him just after that. i think i can say this now considering the current successes, but i asked him, well, what you think it? and he just rolled his eyes. he said, oh, my god. >> in front of you. >> yes. >> i can say that no. >> of problem areas the again. >> better and better. >> i get to know very well. from the beginning commend this is one of the sad things. i actually get to like the man. it's a very difficult. when you establish a relationship with someone like that. you want to get to know that
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person. each right to remain objective. sometimes that tough. i'm not as professional as your. professionals, and it's sometimes difficult. sometimes to maintain that access you have to establish this personal relationship. that is a little difficult. i tried to remain that distance and objectively, but we, i think , develop a comfort level to the point where, you know, i got to get snippet with him, the person. he -- when you interviewed these figures like this, especially political figures, presidents, kings, queens, whenever, 90 percent of what they tell you is scripted. it is to justify heard. one year and up the others.
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that is when the guard is down. aulos self-deprecating which is something i call change. to the point where i did let -- he did let his guard down at times. amid the kids. several times to lead to bitter. all these kids, at three or four hours. cover a wide range of topics. she's very cosmopolitan, very impressive person, classic english accent. again, someone who people have high hopes for. she was different. the first couple was different than in the past. usually the president's wife stayed in the background. but she was out front.
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you know, a champion of women's rights, a champion of trying to create civil society organizations although there were tied to the government and not really dependent. nothing much is independent. the profile of her just before the uprising. they called her the rows of the does of something, the desert rose, which they were very embarrassed about. that is what one of the questions, where has that person gone. people had high hopes. and that is one of the saddest things about that because they really did develop a level of popularity in the country that was not insignificant. difficult to gauge popularity because sometimes the people come out in support of. [indiscernible] they don't want to be seen as not supporting the government's. the security sources all-around.
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it's rather difficult to see how genuine and sincre this popularity is, but having defended the country quite a bit and gone around, all sorts of people, i really did cents a genuine popularity. for me personally that's one of the saddest things about that. implement a true change in syria that they really needed tow particularly at the beginning of the uprising. in my view. >> what did he talk to you about? >> she talked about his upbringing. many different aspects of life, bringing which was fairly normal considering he was the son of the president. in fact in the one of the things that i did was interview the elementary school teacher, primary and secondary school teachers. there were not afraid, which is very telling. a dictator in power. there were not afraid to tell me he was never get math.
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he was not very it in this particular subject. in fact and appearance had to ship schools because he was being distracted by girls. this intention and all the loyalty of all boys school. if you compare that as i did in the first book in 2005 with some $ threaten their teachers to give them a speed airshow of. but then in prison. the story and the reason to doubt that. so, you know, they tried. this is one of the things, again, that contributed to this profile. they tried to a make sure it was a privileged family. i interviewed his friends, number of different people. and it was not orchestrated. it was pretty genuine, there were telling me.
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a pretty normal guy. he liked having friends, he enjoyed music. they like to go out. all of these things that contribute to this profile that he was a fairly normal guy, good family man, all of these things. and that is what they try to recreate. they live in a very modest and upper-middle-class, upper middle-class apartment building where they live on one floor. people next door can look in. so they tried to create, they try to recreate as normal as you can up green. again, all of these things i learned in the beginning. impressive to me. and many other people, which is why i think we have some hope in him that he would augment some real changes year. >> when did you start to see him change?
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>> personally in 2007. i think in a dramatic way. i started to see it as early as 2006, and the reason is this. in -- after the u.s. invasion of iraq which syria posed, and syria was turning a blind eye cannot help but the hottest, there is a reason why they did that. they wanted the bush doctrine to say that that there are next on the hit list so there would do anything they could to help make this happen. one high-level official told me the wrong, of course were helping. you know why? we wanted you guys to kill them. we don't want them in our country. when you survive that,
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particularly after the assassination, that was blamed on syria but most of the national community. the pressure just escalated exponentially after that. people work in late 2005 counting the days for the gasol regime. syrian expatriates, organizations that were just waiting to move in. but he survived that. in that thing that really created in him a sense of triumph and some and survivalism that very much informed his view of the world and response to the uprising in march 2011 because it instill then him the sense of destiny, righteousness, that he survived the best shot the west could take them in that he was on the right side of history. he really believe that. they have, you know, what i call
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it different conceptual paradigm of the world. it might be skewed. it might be off, but it is completely different than we see it in the united states based upon their own history, based on experience. they have a different view of the nature of the threat. and it is a very paranoid view, very suspicious view of the outside world. hard to imagine, part real because there has been just enough, you know, imagination by great powers from the outside of the decades, certainly after syria became independent in 1946, became a pawn between the british and french and regional powers, upon, you know, between the superpowers during the cold war. so that is the experience. and in the israeli conflict. and so that is how they view the world. they see the un efforts by the un very suspiciously. they see the arab league is controlled by saudi arabia, allied with the united states, so they very much view that the
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outside world is out to get them. and bashar absolutely feels that way. ever since 2005, up to give me. nothing and can do that will satisfy them, so why even try. and i think this is why syria and the united states and the west before the uprising, talking past each other. differing views of the world. you had to be in damascus to me had to understand the view of the world. in order to us days with them on a level that they understood and respected, and it is a shame because i think as an american i was not doing this ops, and for a long time i was an advocate of the u.s. senate relations. i was not doing this for syria. i love them and the syrian people. i'm american. but this was best for the
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estate's . cooperating in developing in arab-israeli negotiations that might lead to peace in the overall arab-israeli peace. one of the biggest misstep virginities a modern middle eat history command element is almost every day, when syria and israel sent to that came so close to a peace agreement. there were this close to this close. there was some other problem in israel. the distress caused some problems, but there were this close. if that occurred there would have been, i think, syria is the key for a comprehensive arab-israeli peace. i think the world will look much differently. has below what had been emasculated. iran would not have the influence that they have, and i think -- obviously the
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israeli-palestinian dispute, perhaps may have been resolved. some say the palestinians would have lost all leverage. well, on the other hand, as i may have felt much more secure about the situation and to make the concessions necessary for peace with the palestinians. so that was one of the great myths, missed opportunities, but for all of these reasons i was hoping, you know, for some time, and bashar was very serious, and he did so. turkish mediation in 2007-8 that came very close again with the israelis. the israelis are meeting secretly in turkey, but then the problem is the negotiations take so long that something in the middle east disrupted, something happens. if they are not done in two years to more years' time plus something happens in the middle east and particularly in the arab-israeli arena. this case he is really great on gaza at the time that kind of
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threw everything out. so this is another reason why i was hopeful that this person, and he had people around him who were pro-west. to not everyone was. you advocated relations with the united states. unfortunately those people are marginalize are now. military security solution the current problem. to a different cast of characters. >> you saw him change to becoming more truculent. how is your relationship with them? it also changed? >> not so much. again, we have established a report. i think when i really saw him to change and when i noticed was in 2007 in the reelection which was a referendum for reelecting him
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to another 7-year term. except he was the only one running, referendum. that was a yes or no. and when i arrived in damascus and met him during the election, when i arrived i saw something that i had not seen previously, and that is the personality had been rising again. the personality that had grown up around his father, he had the pictures being taken down in most places in the banners and so forth and so on. he wanted to be this kind of normal president did not have the personnel the complex. in 20007 it was all back and then some. and that tell me right then that he had chased. that, you know, the arrogance of the parts arianism, the arrogance of power, power is an aphrodisiac. as i have become much more comfortable with power. and that's not a bad thing except in an authoritarian
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system if you become much more comfortable with power you become an authoritarian ruler. and he camino, was becoming more and more that and at the comfortable with that particular position and working within that system instead of changing. most of the time it was just me and tune. we had a very personal emotional type of talk. i said, what do you think of all the banners? and i half expected him picking up the old bashar that he would say, oh, that is just tough. the people are going nuts. run by his cousin. they get some parades. and then all the other companies the ministers say, well, we better go more to do this as well, some adjustments of mushrooms. a pretty much have arranged. i have expected him, i really did expected to just, you know, that type of thing.
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instead he said, they love me. they love me. and at that moment i remember thinking to myself, and i read about this in the book, he had his, what i call a sally field moment. sally field won the second oscar she stood in front of the other with community and said he let me give you really love me. this is an affirmation. with him maybe he had been through the tough going to the previous year's, but it was a cathartic response, response. that 10 percent that was looking for. and at that time i said to myself, you're really observing this and believing this. your believing the propaganda in the sixth fence around you who have been saying the well-being of the country is synonymous with your well-being. and at that moment i remember vividly thinking to myself, your president for life, are you? and so that was the most dramatic and vivid
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representation of this change i saw in him which, again, i think it happened in most authoritarian systems and even with the most well-intentioned authoritarian leaders. >> he went one more step. to a newly believed he was the savior. when they had the people in the square he did not order his army to shoot. bashar has gone on to the dockside. he has become the butcher of damascus. where does that come from? to me, and very macabre coincidence which is that it half when he was threatened he ordered immediate attack on to a city in the killed about 20,000 people in one attack. the chilly, as you know, leveled the city in 1982.
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then had no more problems. bashar has been different, engaged in this sort, as you call it to mike a million. they kill about 20,000 people. but it's still 20,000 people dead faugh. mark did not kill 20,000 people in egypt. a few people were killed, but it was nothing like that. how did he make that final step over to the dark side? i will kill, i will kill until i am no longer challenge because he must know, as everyone in the keating must know, there is no going back. their minority in syria. if they lose power there will be slaughtered. had this to make that final step? >> well, one of the main point is that they see that as an existential conflict. this is something that there is no turning back on the side right now.
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for me the answer to that is to fold. it won, i take you really still believes from day one that he is saving the country, that he is protecting the country from chaos, even though his policies are, in fact, during quite the opposite. but i really believe he thinks that what to and that is just from knowing how the syrians think and how he thinks and how righteous they believe they are in their particular policies. and so in fact i had one -- believe it or not, had one well-placed syrian tell me that they feel they have actually been restrained. that they really -- it is they want to unleash the dogs, and they have a debt. and that begins part of this different the central paradox.
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this command this is just how things are done in syria. i write about it in the book. it is a convulsive push but response to the domestic unrest, and this is where i think is based failing is, this whole thing. that heat has allowed the security services leeway and autonomy throughout his time and power. i right in the book about an episode later on in 2007 where i was stopped at the airport commentary in for three hours, passport confiscated. i was told was on the syrian blacklist which is a list you know what to be on, believe me. end date the interrogation the colonel menacingly toro they get in front of me. anyone has been to the middle east, you get guns pointed your face. this is not as threatening as it
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may seem because i really felt somewhat tense, but not. they tried to intimidate you at a police unit of this sort of stuff. you get some guns what is your face. and anyway, and of that. was going to see the president's but the left and did not know what the right hand was doing. finally convinced the colonel, call the office of the president. please. i finally convinced them to understand that it would be worse for you if you didn't call and i was further interrogation or roughed up or whenever then defeated top, so he called. he just turned 56 avoid because he was appalled. he was scared for his position that he had done this. he became a best friend after that. he wanted my autograph. he gave me issued a paper that had my name on the blacklist. i signed that.
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the president has to much applause and assets, other than the three hour interrogation it was just fine. he was upset and surprised. but i said at the end, look, here i am, someone who is in the united states advocating better u.s. syrian relations to mir i am trying to bridge in syria in more favorable light. when i went back to was given testimony from the senate foreign relations committee on improving u.s. jury relations. i said, mr. president to my letter something worse happened and i go back and save nukes' syria. in that said, mr. president to you have to get control of the security forces or else is going to come back to what you. and that is exactly what happened. the new circumstances of the hairspring, they acted as they usually do the 15 children wrote graffiti on walls of the seven
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syrian city the rest of the, but the new circumstances, that was well lit the fire for the uprising in syria. and it was that hubris of the security service, that he alone. and he knows that. he admitted to me, yes, they have access. but, you know, he indicated that it was a necessary evil in dangerous neighborhoods. and, you know, that is somewhat true, but it's also an excuse to maintain the existence of a security force and maintain the regime in power. so i think it is a combination of those two things. he and his supporters are protecting their positions, forces to protect. there really do believe this is for the good of the country and they're sitting in for chaos. and i think their blocked it because the policies have done
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quite the opposite. and it's just a convulsive push but response to business as usual, and there is domestic unrest, stamp out. that is just nothing is done. and he went along with business as usual. >> i think we have some questions from the floor. we have a microphone here. go right ahead. >> yes. i would like test you,. >> that is a complex question. and it has become regionalized. this is where someone as a neophyte to talk about k-9. some messages document iran. and one of the complicating factors of this conflict, the crisis is a becomes regionalize the internationalized between time magically opposed groups at the regional level.
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they want to keep syria and assad going. they are afraid of losing this conduit into the middle east and this conduit of arms and political support and funds. saudi arabia, turkey, city countries, one turkish, two arab, as well as the united states and some others, of course, have been supporting the opposition to varying degrees. saudi arabia, in many ways has taken the lead because there are afraid of what they view as initiate development in the middle east from iran through syria, which is 75 percent city, but there are an offshoot of cia and then in lebanon where those powerful group in lebanon is has the law. so they want to break that up. the u.s. was to write that up.
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israel wants to break that up. the fall of assad is desirable in that sense follow the doe wants syria to implode altogether and break up and cause a free-for-all of surrounding powers that would cause a regional and even international conflagration that would be a danger in all of this and inside syria it has become very, very apparent, the longer this conflict goes on the more sectarian this because about 12, 13 percent of the country, christians about 10% for the most part support the assad regime because it has -- very secularized. and therefore there will be a buffer against any sort of conservative state from developing. the regime that, as you said earlier in the aftermath, if
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that should happen, there could be retribution and revenge against these minorities who have supported the regime. and so the nature of the crisis has become very sectarian whereas the opposition is almost entirely soon the arab. they will put out and allied are christian answer to the process early on to try to show that it is nonsectarian and that it is more nationalist and that they are for democracy in all of that. it has become much more sectarian. almost all of the defectors are sunni arab. almost all the commanders of leaders of the various military councils and militias and free syrian army are also in the arab , and they are being supported by city-state's in turkey and saudi arabia in particular. >> israel in this. one other important neighbor. >> that is kind of quiet.
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>> and prettily so in my view. they have been acquired during the whole their spring. they're waiting to see how this plays out. and if they voice a position on one side or the other they could almost blegitimized the very groups that want to see rise in power in some of these countries, so they are prune the waiting and seeing. it is a big dilemma. half of the the to men at met with them on the number of occasions, this has been this way for years. they have had this diametrically opposed you of bashar for a long time. on the one hand he is the devil we know. he is shown that he wants peace with us. he controls the country. we don't like everything he does, but we know him. he does not really respond in any sort of like way because he can't. symmetry of power.
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stability on the border rather than chaos are even worse, perhaps a radical sunni islam state to be the other half, his support of has a lot. the actions against israel over the years. they felt that there will take the chance of, you know, the situation on the border, but more importantly it well, you know, emasculate hezbollah and be a severe blow to the position of iran which was more important i think the leaders have come around to that position, especially once the international community in the united states came out officially last august, two
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dozen 11, saying that assad must step down and the israeli has slowly come around to thinking that he is going to go at some point. and it might as well be accepted and tried to do anything that we can, not much, to prepare ourselves for the aftermath, but ultimately to undermine iran and has a lot. >> the question right here. >> to questions. can you give any insight into tony blair's comments with george bush with their work on the microphone? oh, assad is like having? with a talking about? why did they have such a favorable impression of him? this seemed to really like him. >> i don't recall that one. i recall the expletive. you're referring to the g8 meeting in to does a six? wind during the israel has the law, and president bush lean over to blair.
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whenever he used to :. he said, you know, if we can get this serious you can put a four-letter expletive, then that will calm the situation. and what was interesting about that comment and bush did not like after 2003 and for. is to about that comment. i said, what to you think of that comment by president bush caught on tape? and, again, have expected him to say typical this, typical. he said to my love it. i love it. because that means there thinking about me. they're worried about me. and ways that is part of syrian foreign policy is having some sort of leverage. it's a fairly weak kutcher militarily. the levers they have is to the support of has the look, a run,
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thomas, the palestinian territory. that is their leverage. as the up to mothers weather that point to give up those things. very enlightening. is important that syria is seen as if they have more for fabrics and they do. >> don't you think that mr. assad is fulfilling his father's dream? that was the whole thing, that he went in and he ruthlessly got rid of people. now we have the same thing going on, which seems pretty silly. so almost a psychological thing. >> you know, that's a good question. i remember responding to some question recently in some interview, a similar type question, and it got me to think, and i wonder. the question i would like to ask
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bashar if i saw him today, mr. president, so do you think you understand why your father did what he did in 1982? to think of by a nest in that question -- in some ways i did earlier on command the kind of aborted it the type to mark another path. now i understand. unloading accomplices, the this is necessary. yes, this is a necessary evil, and necessary thing to keep the country together over the long term, and that thing that is probably how he sees it. and it is a shame. i mean, obviously. >> do you take that he would
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ever unleash chemical warfare? and do you think one reason he does not do it is because that would raise western power against. >> yes. you answered your question. absolutely. president obama has gone on record. that might be a thing that activates a more aggressive western response. it reminds me of what vice president quayle said during the 1991. something similar, you know, that some people suggest he held back because that would just be the tripwire to even a more violent response. as was mentioned earlier, i read about this machiavellian calibration. from the very beginning i think the assault regime, they did not want, you know, a 1982 massacre.
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that would galvanize the international community. they know that the international community does not what to go in there. they know the united states is not want to go in there, and for good reason. we do understand the landscape, what is going on. division is fragmented and divided. we went in no it blindly and supported the opposition group in afghanistan, the 1980's against the soviet occupation and look what happened. al qaeda in this came back to bite as. we have to understand these things. an election year, we will never do anything like that. and it is just a different situation in libya. apples and oranges, completely different. syria is a much harder nut to crack. much more tough, much more complex. so many defer ways. and so he knows that. so as long as there is no chemical weapons, i don't think they will use them unless it is
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the last gasp a breath of the regime but to go out and they want to go out in flames or illicit, as set on try to do in the 1991 gulf war, rockets into israel tried to turn that persian gulf war into an arab-israeli one church. that is a danger. that is something that is really in u.s. policy makers and others are concerned about. the only problem with that is that when you unleash this type of blood letting you cannot carefully calibrated. the paramilitary groups that are frenetically supporting the assad regime, most of them are doing it just to make a living and protect the community. and also to lead gives their regime somewhat plausible deniability. and it in large measure the worst atrocities. you guessed control them. you know.
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so i think something could happen. you release of this type of situation, and it is getting more violent. the syrians are starting to do things that they had not done. they're starting to use their helicopters and bombs indiscriminately to the point where that does not become screwed the rest in the western media. unfortunately it has in many ways. and the new cycle covers something else. the elections to conventions, what happened in libya and so forth. you know, if something happens in the humanitarian level that compels the international community to act, that is when it might happen. he knows there are reluctant to do so. >> thank you very much for a very important presentation. you brought out some very important points about what is
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happening in the middle east purses' the last interpretation of how they coexist together. assad feels like this is outside people making this happen. we as a country in america has said we leaving the middle east and going to asia as far as our focus is concerned, which leaves the bad guys to come and say okay. it's open territory command seems like that is what is going on. valleys netanyahu and israel feeling pretty isolated. >> in terms of arab-israeli? well, we are in a situation with the arabs bring to a lack of progress in the arab-israeli issue. this is a very, very tumultuous time. i think that it is going to take
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a generation to play out. i think there will be convulsions for the next ten volatility years, and we're going to have to deal with that at some level. unfortunately, when there are these types of convulsions there are not very many -- there is not much incentive for peace. and, you know, i have always thought that for an arab-israeli piece, a comprehensive arab-israeli the piece that you have to have all the important players, the leaders, the single leaders to be committed to it. you know, is era, united states commits syria, however, palestinian leaders, they have to be on the same boat. and that is really happening. a few times it has happened for short amounts of time, and there have been some progress during those times. unfortunately something always happens. the assassination in 95. that yeah comes to power in 96.
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perhaps before that made some. presidents and power who have gone back and forth between the emphasis on these issues because we are told power and, as you say, we have global interests, and we turn the page. these people in the middle east live from the command read this stuff. it is amazing how little time really that presidential administration, even in crisis situations will look at that particular thing because we have global interests and we have to think of china and this. okay. a ten minute briefing of this. let's go to the next topic. a lesser reaches a crisis point. so i see a lot of convulsion. i see a lot of unknown. i see u.s. policy adjusting and readjusting as best they can to these unpredictable situations, and you know, there is a lot in my view opportunity in the wake
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of the arabs bring. a lot of us are worried about what type of regimes are coming to power. egypt and cheesy and libya out with some alumnus of the brotherhood. i would be less fearful that. this is new. they have political. what's that? in know, one of the things i talked to some of you about what happened with the entire as long film that came out and their reactions. and, you know, this differing conceptual paradigm in looking at the reactions to this. yes. it was a horrible film. terrible. a $5 million budget? really? somebody pocket a lot of money. truth be told him it was awful, but that is no reason to kill people in response to that. and the arab world, in the muslim world the response, there is some genuine outrage. there is a muslim leaders taking a advantage of this.
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it reminds me of the hostage crisis in the iran in 1979 with a revolutionary guard captured the 52 u.s. hostages in the embassy. that was a political game tell maneuver and find some other forces in the revolutionary movement as it was aimed at the united states, and a lot of these reactions are part of that , and they could be some last gasp of a more extremist elements in these countries trying to make their mark in a situation that where there is much more political space. and one of the good things about authoritarian regimes, calibration, they could calibrate process fairly well, especially -- in syria, there will come by and say, or about that a protest. get out. and it will go and students from the university. it would get all the security agents, it would give some
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companies and say, all on board, we're going to purchase the u.s., though some rocks, a breeze that thing, as forbid the when those. and then they know, that's it. there isn't that up. and these regimes are pretty weak. and maybe in the long run that is probably a good thing that they are not the authoritarian regimes, but this will never happen. as far as the conceptual error number unremembered this. and do the same. is that most of the people are protesting against brought up an authoritarian environment. where nothing was produced unless it was sanctioned by the government, nothing, no film, no book, nothing. in so they look at the world the
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revolutionary saw that. they concluded that the u.s. was abandoning because we would not allow the stepup protests unless it was a clear signal of we were abandoning. in other words, they toughen their own experience, this doesn't happen the less it is orchestrated by the government. and so that actually entered as the opposition thinking the u.s. is abandoning. barbara administrations, basically protesting. is just a different conceptual paranormal the world.
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it. >> one more question. >> can you explain that position is this to do with russia and america? what are they trying to point out? >> a good question. many different levels. russia as an arms relationship. lots of business and iran s.w.a.t. the very small thing. was not kept a very well until recently. but it is their only port in the mediterranean another naval vessel, so these are some of the practical aspects. the larger sense, there is a lot of institutional inertia.
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you know, syrians and the soviet union have had a longstanding relationships. not always fruitful, not always seen eye to eye, but they have had a longstanding relationship. there is a bureaucratic institutional edition of the relationship that is hard to change. the lower levels of the bureaucracy. diplomats and so forth develop ties with syrian diplomats, you cannot just say, okay, we are going to put this. he knows that. in addition, you know, he is running foreign policy. there were disagreements between him and the president. when he was president, he was the one that abstained on the un security council vote on libya. very critical that. there was something of a split between the two. and once he -- you know, he starts with the foreign-policy arena by the fall of 2011.
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the russians have vetoed excess of its shows by the un security council to take more resolute action against the syrian regime and the lessons they feel they were there. that was the resolution to protect civilians, and they feel that nato and the u.s. used it in an offensive way to unseat cannot be -- khaddafi. also a very vibrant impression. they see the protests that occurred in russia earlier in the year, they see the hand of the united states. that's why they kicked out some of the ngo organizations that were supported by the u.s. and so they -- almost his position similar. they don't like change in the
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middle east. they feel that the u.s. intervention in iraq and afghanistan failed and made the entire middle east wars. and so they don't want to see it happen again in syria. of course to protect their own interest. one of the last areas of undress for russia in the middle east. irrelevant. and they have to be careful. i mean, the united states cut to keep bringing up the shot of iran, but the united states met with the shot of iran. and we encourage the wrath of the iranian population. when do you cut ties with a leader who is unpopular in his own country and they go down in there for you go down with-it? and nine other russians are having discussions in the kremlin about this. how long do we stay? but this has become an international test of power, as you can imagine, between the united states and russia.
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russia is asserting itself and writing this nationalistic response against the u.s. which has been going on for at least a decade now. and so i don't see it changing anytime cent, but you will know that the assad regime will fall on the russian strength. >> it has been a really fascinating. i read of your books. the most interesting metaphor that you have for bashar is that he is let michael corleone the who was not meant to be the godfather. it was his brother. his brother, of course, had a bloody end and then michael becomes the godfather but he then really becomes the godfather and gets worse and worse. and that is, to me, the most spine chilling thing watching bashar, he is getting worse and worse. >> now he is michael corleone at the end of the godfather to. at the end of the first 27 going to chase a family business. the end of the second one he
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became his father. >> on that now we will say good night. thank you for coming. >> thank you. thank you all. [applause] ..